What if “blessed are you” really means “get up, go ahead and do something”?
I’ve always been a bit confused by the Beatitudes. You know, the “blessed are you” passages… Honestly, I don’t feel “blessed” at all when my spirit is lacking, I mourn, am grossly overmatched or suffering an injustice. Rarely do I find showing mercy, pure-heartedness, peace-making or persecution to be calm, peace-filled endeavors.
Okay, so you say, but they point us to a future where we will be blessed — as kingdom-dwellers. There we’ll be comfortable heirs, contented to experience mercy, see God, and be received as children. Perhaps true, but still confounding to me, because Jesus always struck me as a present tense kind of guy; not just a wait-it-out-and-you-will-see kind of guy. After all, future promises ring pretty hollow when our today is so gnarly.
So, I was delighted to read another take on the “Blessed are you’s,” described in today’s Richard Rohr’s Contemplation and Action newsletter and quoted from Elias Chacour’s book We Belong to the Land. Chacour suggests that the verb traditionally translated as “blessed are you” from the Aramaic is more accurately, Get up, go ahead, do something, move. You who are feeling low or worn out, move into the Kingdom that’s here now. See it! Hear it! Feel it! Claim it!
Now THAT sounds more like Jesus, to me. So let’s rewrite those beatitudes.
Matthew 5 tells us, “when Jesus saw the crowds (he had been healing from every disease and sickness), he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.”
When He said:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. He meant, Get up, go ahead, do something, move, you who are poor in spirit because I am here to fill even the hollow places with spirit-wholeness.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. He meant, Get up, go ahead, do something, move, you who are in mourning because I bring hope and a new day.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. He meant, Get up, go ahead, do something, move, because I will use your meekness to bring down even the mightiest strongmen.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. He meant, Get up, go ahead, do something, move, you who seek justice, for in your seeking you will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. He meant, Get up, go ahead, do something, move, you who offer mercy, my grace and mercy will rain down upon you.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. He meant, Get up, go ahead, do something, move, you who are pure in heart, for there you will see me.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. He meant, Get up, go ahead, do something, move, you who work for peace for there I will be among you.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. He meant, Get up, go ahead, do something, move and keep moving, you who are beaten down and even killed, for today you will be with me in paradise.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. He meant, Get up, go ahead, do something, move, you who are vilified because of me, for I will stand with you when you defend my name.
In your going and doing, “rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…”
Back from the brink
If this past year — and if I’m being honest this past several years — have taught me anything it’s this:
There is always something new to be afraid of
And afraid takes you down the drain. Yep, spins you with the sludge until the current pulls you under. And, if you manage to hold on with your fingernails and hoist yourself out of that drain, tomorrow’s news will do the same all over again. If you let it.
Confession: I have done too much letting it.
In trying to find a way to matter in the world, indeed to love those who matter (all of us) in the world, I have let myself be pulled in, pulled under and nearly drowned.
Now, before those of you who know me personally start to worry, no cause for that. I’m good. In fact today I am better than good. I’m ready. Ready to get back to business. Back to the bread and butter of Kinesthetic Christian-ing. Which isn’t commenting on the days’ events and offering my take, but rather, taking what God gives me in each day and bringing it to life. Because in that, perhaps I can do my part to bring God to life in my midst and perchance in yours.
To do this I need to re-fix my gaze and adjust my footing. But not in a try-harder kind of way. In more of a go-about-your-business-and-I’ll-be-there kind of way. The way some of you out there have done so well. The some of you who have continued creating, teaching, inventing, investing and dedicating yourself to your work in the world. The work you do so well.
You know who you are. I am smiling at you RIGHT NOW.
Our world in our day seems regularly to take us to the brink. To dangle us over the edge and say, “See what you deserve? Look at that and be afraid.” And we are. Because it’s frightening.
But what if, right about then, when all is lost and we start to flail and panic and teeter into the abyss, we feel a gentle tug on the back of our t-shirt? Then, we inhale deeply and realize it’s the hand of our pickleball partner preventing us from stepping into “the kitchen” and losing the point. That hand pulls us back from the brink and back into the game. More ready than ever for whatever shot comes our way. After all, that guy just saved me.
As it is written, “in God we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28), but speaking Kinesthetically, we might say, In God, we move and live and have our being.
Because God has my back, I play better than ever. Better than I ever thought I could.
If you like what you read here at the Kinesthetic Christian, you may enjoy taking a look at my book, Made to Move: Knowing and Loving God Through Our Bodies. Contact Wendy here for more information.
Our Tower of Babble
We are in a babbling time, even a blabbering time.
So much assaults our ears, our minds, our tendencies. There is so much to get our hackles up over, to take sides on, to gossip about and share with our friends.
Enough already. This mobile device I have in my pocket has its uses, but somehow our consulting it has turned us against one another. Our rampant googling presumes to make us each an authority over the other. Somehow the fingertip availability of the internet has succeeded in garbling our words, as we climb one upon the other in order to shout the loudest from the tallest point.
There is something very wrong, yet very familiar, about this. It has me consulting Genesis 11:1-9 where I read the troubling story of the tower of Babel.
“Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel —because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.”Genesis 11:1-9 NIV
Are we in our own tower of Babel time? In these days, have we become so engrossed in our “connecting” through the internet and “building” relationships online that we are failing to see and hear what’s true, what’s noble, what’s right, what’s pure, what’s lovely, what’s admirable, and all that is excellent and praiseworthy in our midst? (from Phil 4:8) Because this is what we are charged with doing. And what’s more, these things are what are meant to shape our thinking, and convict or confirm us in our doing.
So, if all of this babbling is distracting me from my purpose, then I had best set aside the shouting going on around me and attend to the whisper within me that says, “You know Me. I am here. Talk to Me. Confirm with Me. Ask questions of Me.”
The best way I know to do this I have set to writing in, Made to Move: Knowing and Loving God Through Our Bodies.* God has given me this life and this body in which to live it. God expects better from me, and I believe, better from all of us tuned into the God channel.
Today, God has reminded me, Wendy, if you’re having a problem with the way your world is working, you hold in your hands the way I have given you to come and find me again. Get out that book of yours and the Book of mine and let’s work our way through it.
Friends, will you join me for Made to Move online? I will post the writings and welcome daily comments at the blog on my author website. (https://wendylebolt.com/) We’ll kick off this Sunday! Let’s gather there and leave the babble on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the others behind.
*Learn more about Made to Move and order print or digital versions here.